What’s The Difference Between Multi-Piece Rotors & Single-Piece Rotors?
What is the point of a floating rotor? Why are they needed? These are questions we get asked a lot here at SMT Machining. We make our rotors here in house so we wanted to show you the difference and explain what’s going on with the multi-piece rotors vs. single-piece rotors.
Solid One Piece Rotors in Black or Chrome
Floating Rotors have a separate center from the rotor surface.
Solid Rotors VS Floating Rotors
In the top image, you see some single-piece rotors. We cut those out of stainless steel using a water jet table. They come out precise and perfectly sized. There are a couple of different styles of floating rotors. That 18″ floating rotor uses small metal clips to hold the outer ring of the rotor to the inside carrier. The 13″ is attached a little bit different but it serves the same purpose.
The floating rotor has a few advantages over its single piece counterpart. First, they are lighter than rotors of the same size. The center is made out of aluminum which lightens up the total weight of the rotor. They dissipate heat better and run cooler which will help to prevent brake fade.
They also have a little bit of movement built into them. If you imagine a steering wheel in front of you, the rotor doesn’t have much play radially, like you are trying to turn that steering wheel. But you will notice some lateral play in the rotor portion, the same as if you grabbed that steering wheel and pushed it away from you then pulled it back towards your chest. There is a small amount of movement in that direction which can help with brake pad wear as it allows the rotor to stay more centered in the caliper allowing the brake pads to be applied more evenly. Also, being separate from the center carrier allows heat to dissipate quicker.
That being said, the solid rotor does its job admirably as well. If you’re a pretty normal rider that just likes to cruise and you don’t really like to come into corners hot and really ride those brakes, the solid rotor will do exactly what it’s supposed to, stop you and your bike. They are more economically priced as there is only one machine operation and nothing has to be assembled afterwards. We just polish them up and get the finish applied that was ordered and send them to the customer.
Can I Use My Stock Rotors?
There is another question we get asked a lot is “Why do I need to buy your rotors, why can’t I just use my stock ones?” That’s a very legitimate question. The main reason is we design our hubs in house and we use a 5 hole bolt pattern for our rotors and we try to keep the rotors flat. The stock Indian ones use a 6 hole pattern, for example, there can be a number of reasons why your particular rotors won’t work. For example, the stock rotor on some manufacturers may be dished and we engineer the hub so we can use a flat rotor. Don’t worry though, all of our wheels are guaranteed to be a perfect fit. If It doesn’t fit, we will pay to make sure it’s correct!
Here at SMT Machining, we do most of our business in the custom Harley wheels market. We do make custom wheels for any manufacturer though. So if you are looking for custom wheels for whatever you ride, check out our over 70 different designs and counting. See you out on the road, Ride With The Best.